Meaning and Styles of Skull Pendants


A skull is a reminder of our mortality. At the same time, many cultures view skulls as receptacles of the soul and endow them with special ritual value. Among the Celts, a skull was revered as the center of sacred power, which protected a person from adverse forces as well as bestowed health and wealth. A skull is an attribute of the Hindu hermits and a sign of their renunciation of the world on the way to salvation. It is also a companion of the formidable Tibetan pantheon deities. Taoist immortals are often depicted with an overgrown skull. It means that they have accumulated a huge amount of yang energy in their brain. Muslims associate the well-known saying that the fate of a man is written on his brow with the skull seams that resemble letters.

A skull is an attribute of many images of Christian apostles and saints, such as Saint Paul, Saint Magdalena, and Saint Francis of Assisi. Hermits are often depicted with a skull that indicates their thoughts about death. Icons often show a crucifix with a skull and bones at the foot that serves as a reminder of Christ’s death. According to the legend, the crucifix stood on the bones of Adam, and thanks to the crucifixion of the Savior, all people will gain eternal life.

Summing up, a skull has multi-faceted meanings but all cultures agree upon one thing – this is a powerful symbol that warns of death and signifies immortality. Many modern subcultures adopted this symbol for their insignia and revere it as a protector and patron.

Sugar Skull

Of all skull design varieties, sugar skull looks the most life-affirming and creative. Instead of carrying a frightening smirk, a sugar skull smiles sincerely, as if hinting that everything is going to be alright. Such a positive image came from Mexico where a skull, as an attribute of death, is deeply revered. According to Mexican beliefs and traditions, death is not the end, it is a new beginning. Therefore, the arrival of death and spirits is not a reason for dismay, but, on the contrary, an occasion for celebration. There is even the famous Day of the Dead festival, for which Mexicans bake skull sweets and decorate them with colorful swirls and flowers. Such a vibrant design is a tribute to Santa Muerte. This goddess appears as a young beautiful girl with a floral wreath on her head. However, instead of a human face, she has a skull embellished with intricate patterns. Sugar skull pendants have adopted this colorful appearance – they are usually made of contrasting metals, adorned with multi-colored gems, or covered with bright enamel featuring curls and flowers.

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Biker Skull Design

Unlike artistic, elegant, and delicate sugar skulls, biker skulls are more massive, stout, and deliberately frightening. Usually, they are fairly simple yet realistic. The most traditional biker pendant carries a polished, or vice versa, ruggedly crafted skull without excessive embellishment. The only thing that can complement such a pendant is engraving or embossing with the name of a motorcycle club, its motto, or abbreviations popular in the biker community.

Most often, biker jewelry is cast from silver as an attractive and durable metal that does not require any special care. Another popular option is brass pendants with a slightly yellowish shade. Gold is rarely used for biker jewelry because of its pomposity, luxury, and high cost.

Gothic Skull Pendants

Gothic designs have a lot in common with biker ones. After all, biker culture and its attributes had a huge impact on the modern gothic. However, unlike bikers, Goths prefer more sophisticated and fancy models. Their skulls are just as harsh and frightening, but they carry much more detail and elements. For instance, you can come across a skull holding a rose between the teeth. By the way, a rose is of great importance in Gothic. Many Gothic ornaments mimic the design of the rose window, an indispensable attribute of Gothic cathedrals. The interiors of these monumental buildings featured various floral motifs including the rose ones. Besides that, a rose has an esoteric meaning – its petals symbolize a multi-layer universe. But let’s get back to skulls. Gothic skulls are usually richly decorated with precious and semiprecious stones featuring cold shades (the only exception is made for a vibrant red color). The cold, penetrating eyes of a skull can sparkle with green emeralds, blue sapphires, or frightening red rubies. In general, Gothic pendant meaning is similar to the generally accepted skull significance – celebrate life but do not forget about death.

A skull pendant by itself is a pretty stand-out jewelry piece that doesn’t require any additional decorations. Despite a model you pick, it’s best to rock it with a simplistic yet durable silver chain, leather choker, or long black leather cord.


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